BBC Voices

Conversation in Cinderford about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Cinderford, Gloucestershire

  • Interviewees

    Harvey, Charles (aka Dave), (speaker, male, retired coalminer), Morgan, Keith, (speaker, male, barber), Olivey, Elsie, (speaker, female, retired school secretary), Smith, Kathleen, (speaker, female, retired schoolteacher)

  • Interviewers

    Durrant, Joanna, 1981 Oct. 12- (speaker, female)

  • Producers

    Radio Gloucestershire

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves, describe where they have lived/their jobs/their interest in writing. Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Mention features of Forest of Dean dialect: dropping Hs from start of words/adding them on to words beginning with O. Anecdote about Humphrey Phelps (local writer) being told that many Forest words are used in other areas of the country too.[00:06:44] Discussion about Forest of Dean dialect, its Celtic origins/Old English influence/mining vocabulary. Mention difference between speech of local men/women. Discussion about speaking properly, anecdotes about not being allowed to speak with Forest accent at school, their ability to speak proper as well as using forest language. How Forest dialect, in particular vocabulary, varies across local area reflecting variation in language used in different coal mines in past. Comment that this was due to isolation of communities. Description of game known as catty in one place and peggy in another. Mention different meanings of butty.[00:13:14] Continuation of discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Comment that different generations use different words. Discussion about pronunciation of Forest of Dean language. Comment that phrases are much more descriptive than single words.[00:17:55] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Anecdote about colliery manager being very skilled at throwing quoits. Comment that S sound at beginning of word often becomes Z in Forest of Dean dialect.[00:21:23] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Anecdote about local magistrate who didnt impose heavy fines on people because he also ran greengrocers. Comment that Forest of Dean dialect is thought to share some similarities with German. Mention that she was totally ignorant about where babies came from when she was eighteen. Comment that people who were insane were more accepted by community in past.[00:28:10] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Comment that she didnt have a television until she was a teenager because her house didnt have electricity before then. Description of sofas in past, her family connections with local area. Mention common Gloucestershire surnames. Description of outside toilets used in past, types of paper used as toilet paper, emptying toilet into garden to fertilise vegetables, cleaning the toilet, toilet with three seats, toilets moving inside house. Anecdote about moving to house with outside flush toilet, how this changed his familys way of life. Anecdotes about using outside toilets in past.[00:43:07] Discussion about words used to describe different types of food, stock-pots and what went in them, eating home-cured bacon. Descriptions of keeping and killing pigs in past, using pigs bladder as football. Description of wash-house, tools used for washing clothes, Monday washing day. Discussion about making/eating Christmas puddings in past, anecdote about Christmas puddings being ruined because string came undone while they were boiling. Exchanging home-reared meat/home-grown fruit with neighbours, bartering/self-sufficient way of life in past especially during rationing in Second World War, home-baking, poaching animals. Comment that people ate more healthily in past, they worked hard so burnt off energy. Descriptions of preparing and eating all parts of pig in past. Mention words used to mean to rain heavily.[00:56:28] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Mention ways to differentiate between maternal/paternal grandparents.[01:02:47] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Description of britch: trousers made of moleskin, how they were repaired in past, use of No Sew to mend clothes.[01:06:19] Discussion about different types of toilets used in past, how they were emptied. Anecdote about council not giving her money for an upstairs toilet because she already had one downstairs. Stories about using outside toilet in past.[01:10:39] Discussion about Forest of Dean dialect, other peoples reactions to their accent/dialect, modifying their speech when talking to complete strangers, disliking people thinking theyre Welsh. How local accent/dialect has changed over time, possible reasons for this: immigration/emigration, influence of television. Connection with Welsh possibly due to Forest miners working in South Wales and vice versa. Recitation of dialect poem written and read by Dave about the Christmas lights in Coleford. Discussion about use and meaning of Forest dialect words, some from list compiled by Keith, their favourite Forest words.[01:17:33] Discussion about how their children/grandchildren speak. Mention daughter being told to lose her Forest accent, being told same thing at grammar school in 1930s, local primary school childrens interest in Forest language. Mention meaning of various local words. Anecdote about teacher not understanding pikelet used by Forester child. Stories about local character Archie Freeman.[01:22:21] Stories about various local people, many of whom worked in coal mines. Stories about men who started hodding (dragging boxes of coal ore out of pit) aged 12/13, terrible working conditions in mines, great comradeship amongst miners. Anecdote about getting buried in mining accident in 1963/4. Fathers experience of a friend being killed next to him twice in mine but still not wanting to stop working there. Companionship/friendly atmosphere in mines. Comment that there werent many other job options. Difficulty miners had of adjusting to working in factory. Anecdotes about practical jokes and humour in mines.[01:34:39] Discussion about preservation and future of Forest of Dean dialect. Description of annual event held to celebrate heritage and culture of Forest of Dean, includes competition to find Bard of the Forest: best person writing poetry in local dialect (currently Kathleen). Attitudes towards regional dialects on radio/television, pride in dialect.[01:37:01] Description of Kathleens poetry, she calls it verse, what she writes about. Different meanings and uses of Forest expression irons in the fire. Recitation of dialect poem about that phrase written and performed by Kathleen. Recitation of The Wossname, written and performed by Dave. Mention rich heritage of brass bands in Forest of Dean, there are eight/nine brass bands in area now. Recitation of Billy the Bandsman written and performed by Keith. Mention Elsies writing entitled Rosemary and Rue about her four grandparents. Recitation of poem about chimney sweeps written by Dave, performed in dialect by Elsie. Anecdotes about sweeping chimneys in past. Discussion about reading aloud in Forest dialect. Mention various local people who write dialect poetry. Speakers re-introduce themselves.

  • Description

    Recording made for BBC Voices project of a conversation guided by a BBC interviewer. The conversation follows a loose structure based on eliciting opinions about accents, dialects, the words we use and people's attitude to language. The four interviewees are friends who have lived all their lives in the Forest of Dean.

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